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Factory workers set to receive cash assistance

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers queue to get the Sinovac vaccine behind a barricade with a banner that reads ‘red zone’, in southern Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on May 17. Hong Menea

Factory workers set to receive cash assistance

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced the launch of an $11 million post-lockdown cash handout programme for more than 275,000 workers from 513 factories who were affected by the recent lockdowns of Phnom Penh, Kandal province’s Takmao town and Sihanoukville.

In an announcement dated June 22, the ministry noted that the cash handout programme is specifically for workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods sectors badly hit by the large-scale lockdowns.

Labour minister Ith Sam Heng said the programme would provide aid to 275,787 workers employed at 513 factories. They will receive 160,000 riel ($40) each.

“[Electronic payments service provider] Wing will send messages regarding this cash assistance to brothers and sisters who have given their phone numbers to the factory administrations,” he said.

He added that the $40 will be paid only one time under the government’s social cash assistance programme. Wing will transfer the money back to the government if workers fail to pick it up within 10 days of receiving the message.

In order to receive payment, he said workers have to take their Cambodian ID cards and phones with the SIM to which the payment was sent to their nearest Wing agent.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Garment workers living in the red zone along Veng Sreng Road in Meanchey district in Phnom Penh on May 17, 2021. Hong Menea

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina told The Post on June 22 that the assistance could ease workers’ hardships if their factories had been suspended for some time.

“The government’s assistance is to partially ease hardships for brothers and sisters, but the employers’ side did not provide assistance to workers. So, we think that this is what should be taken into account. When employers fail to think of their workers’ livelihoods, it is a most regretful thing,” he said.

Sina added that although the assistance was not much, it could help them in some ways. He called on employers to join the government in providing a better assistance package for their workers.

On May 11, the government issued a press release about the post-lockdown cash assistance to help low-income households who had challenges and difficulties during the large-scale lockdown.

On June 10, the government also kicked off its post-lockdown cash handout programme by disbursing $4 million to more than 60,000 households consisting of 200,000 members in total.

Aside from this one-off cash handout, the government has been providing financial support to poor people through the “IDPoor” cash transfer programme that provides assistance to roughly 700,000 poor households consisting of 2.8 million people.

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